Once again the Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300 lived up to expectations with four drivers battling for the victory over the final five laps at Anderson Speedway.
It's becoming more obvious each year that various teams' tire strategy at the halfway break is crucial in determining the outcome.
Under Champion Racing Association rules, teams are aligned for the restart on Lap 151 based on the number of tires the team decides to change.
Rick Turner, the Y-town Hustler, decided not to change any tires at the break and was a sitting duck for the teams that took two, three or four tires.
Bubba Pollard changed two tires and restarted on the outside of the front row and quickly regained the lead. But near the 350-lap mark Pollard’s car was losing the grip of the tires and was being challenged by eventual winner Daniel Hemric, who changed four tires.
For 10 laps, Pollard and Hemric raced side by side as they approached the cars on the tail of the lead lap. Eventually there was a caution, and on the restart Hemric took the lead with 23 laps remaining.
A final caution resulted in a five-lap shootout with Hemric, Pollard, Travis Braden and Steve Dorer in contention for the win. Over the final five circuits several drivers made an unsuccessful attempt to deny Hemric the win.
“Four tires are better than two,” a disappointed Pollard said of his third-place finish.
With the victory Hemric becomes the only driver eligible for the JEGS Triple Crown, which carries a $100,000 bonus. Hemric will have to win the Berlin 251 next month in Michigan and the Winchester 400 to claim the bonus.
Last year, Michigan driver Johnny VanDoorn won the Redbud 300 and at Berlin Raceway.
For Middletown driver Scott Neal, the night was filled with disappointment and happiness as he drove to a sixth-place finish.